Sunday, July 27, 2014
Unlike in books, there was no concluding page on the Internet, just a limitless chain that left her tired, tense, up too late. Tom Rachman, The Rise & Fall of Great Powers
Saturday, June 14, 2014 Thursday, January 16, 2014
… it’s not the cold simulated outrage of the politician, it’s the real thing, the kind of outrage that says Do you know who I am? Hilary Mantel, A Place of Greater Safety, page 576
Sunday, December 8, 2013
But if we know we’re being watched all the time, then we’re going to engage in behavior that is acceptable to other people, meaning we’re going to conform to orthodoxies and norms. And that’s the real menace of a ubiquitous surveillance state: It breeds conformity; it breeds a kind of obedient citizenry, on both a societal and an individual level. That’s why tyrannies love surveillance, but it’s also why surveillance literally erodes a huge part of what it means to be a free individual. Saving the Net from the surveillance state: Glenn Greenwald speaks up (Q&A)
If they had busted those [Pakistani] networks," [Richard Barlow] said last week, "Iran would have no nuclear program, North Korea wouldn’t have a uranium bomb, and Pakistan wouldn’t have over a hundred nuclear weapons they are driving around in vans to hide from us. The Perils of Whistle-Blowing - Newsweek
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Assuming technology continues to advance—and there’s no reason to believe it won’t—there will always be a security gap in which technically advanced Robin Hoods can operate. The Battle for Power on the Internet - Bruce Schneier - The Atlantic
Friday, December 6, 2013
But this ignores a peculiar feature of U.S. patent law: The Patent Office cannot actually reject any patent application. Oh, a patent examiner can issue a “rejection” letter, but the applicant can keep an application alive simply by filing a response. In turn, the patent examiner can then issue a “final rejection.” But this, too, is doublespeak: All the patent applicant has to do is file a “continuation” under one of several possible procedures in order to keep the patent application pending for as long as 20 years. The Simple Fix That Could Transform the Troubled Patent System
And so the Americans who best championed South African freedom were the ones who didn’t view freedom as synonymous with the geopolitical interests of the United States. Don’t Sanitize Nelson Mandela: He’s Honored Now, But Was Hated Then
Sunday, May 26, 2013
And if you go into a grocery store that you’ve never seen before and are looking for the sugar or the olives or the paper towels, where do you go? Without any conscious effort, you recall “the” spot where the articles are found in other familiar stores. Of course, you’re not thinking of just one place, but of a collection of various places that you mentally superimpose. You think, “The sugar should be around here”, where the word “here” refers simultaneously to a collection of small areas in various familiar grocery stores and also to a small area in the new store, and it’s “right there” that one looks first of all. Douglas Hofstadter and Emmanuel Sander, Surfaces and Essences
Saturday, July 14, 2012
As Netflix’s business blossomed and as he was personally applauded in the press, Hastings had grown much more confident in his own decision making, less receptive to taking advice from his senior management team. What’s more, few of the people who could persuade Hastings or tell him he was making a mistake were around anymore. Netflix’s lost year: The inside story of the price-hike train wreck
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
A first for me: physical 419 spam. Sent from Spain to the US with a real stamp. With lead generation costs that high, if this scam is profitable, they must be getting an enviable response rate and ROI.

A first for me: physical 419 spam. Sent from Spain to the US with a real stamp. With lead generation costs that high, if this scam is profitable, they must be getting an enviable response rate and ROI.

Monday, April 16, 2012
… the most important principle for designing an ethical society is to make sure that everyone’s reputation is on the line all the time, so that bad behavior will always bring bad consequences. Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (page 74), crediting Glaucon in Plato’s Republic
Friday, March 30, 2012
Beginning in the early 1990s, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office instituted policies that encouraged patent proliferation. One required examiners to provide written justification for denying applications but not for granting them. Paul M. Barrett, Apple’s War on Android
Sunday, February 19, 2012
He became another data point in the American experiment of self-government, an experiment statistically skewed from the outset, because it wasn’t the people with sociable genes who fled the crowded Old World for the new continent; it was the people who didn’t get along well with others. Jonathan Franzen, Freedom
Thursday, November 17, 2011
According to Isaacson, Steve Jobs apparently always worried who could eat Apple’s lunch. The lunch of the iPod, he concluded, was ripe for mobile phones. Subsequently, Apple entered the mobile phone space. Google followed. Since then more powerful mobile phones have eaten the lunch of the dedicated gaming device. The jobs-to-be-done and their priorities in people’s life have not changed, but the tools people use to get them done have. Permanently. Dirk Schmidt, The end of the dedicated portable device